Banquet honors cattle industry contributors
Four outstanding individuals in the cattle-feeding industry were celebrated for their leadership, innovation and dedication during the annual Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame banquet on June 30 in Denver, Colo.
Two notable figures in the cattle-feeding business--Lee Borck and Dave Wood--became the newest class of inductees to join an elite group of pioneers to the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame, an honor reserved for exceptional visionary men and women who have made lasting contributions to the cattle-feeding industry.
The Hall of Fame recognized long-standing industry advocate John Lacey with the Industry Leadership Award. Erasmo "Chico" Becerra also became the first recipient of the newly established Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes exceptional feedyard employees.
Borck and Wood were selected by a nominating committee, along with three other distinguished cattle feeders, and were then voted on by their peers.
Borck, a Kansas native, is a forward-thinking cattle feeder whose motto, "There is a reason the rear-view mirror is so small and the windshield is so big," perfectly captures his innovative approach to the cattle-feeding business. Throughout his career, Borck has focused on adding value to the end-product, while meeting the needs of animals and consumers.
As the Chairman of the Board for the Beef Marketing Group and President of Innovative Livestock Services, Inc., Borck has been instrumental in developing a unique approach to meet the retail customer needs through innovative alignment between the producer and the meat case. His commitment to food safety, animal care and sustainability are the pillars to many of the specific cattle and beef programs he has been involved with.
A proven leader and advocate for the beef and cattle-feeding industries, Borck has served in many leadership roles, including the National Cattlemen's Beef Association board, the Cattlemen's Beef Board and past president of CattleFax and the Kansas Livestock Association.
In 2007, Borck's accomplishments and dedication to his alma mater, Kansas State University, were recognized when the university awarded him its highest honor--a Medal of Excellence. He also received a Vision Award from NCBA in 2009.
Wood has helped Harris Feeding Company and Harris Ranch Beef Company pioneer many firsts in the beef business, including being the first beef processor to enter the market of fully-cooked, heat-and-serve beef entrees.
Wood, who has always understood the need to meet the demands of the end-user, also developed the Harris Ranch "Partnership for Quality" program, which unites the producer, feeder and packer to ensure the consumers' demand for consistent, high-quality beef is met.
In addition to leading his company, Wood also has served the industry he is so passionate about, acting as past president of CattleFax and the Western States Meat Association and serving as chairman for many industry associations, including the Cattlemen's Beef Board.
Despite his success downstream in the beef chain, Wood stays true to his roots by running his own stocker and cow-calf operation and partnering with Lacey Livestock, which operates a cow-calf and stocker operation known as Centennial Ranch. The California cattleman also is a co-owner of a diversified farming and nut tree operation.
The Industry Leadership Award is given to distinguished individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, provided exemplary service and have made significant contributions to the advancement of the cattle-feeding business. John Lacey was chosen by the industry to be honored as this year's Industry Leadership Award recipient.
Lacey operates several cow-calf, yearling and cattle-feeding enterprises. He is a past president of the California Cattlemen's Association and the only person to serve as president of both the National Cattlemen's Association and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. He also has served as chairman for the California Beef Council and is currently serving as chairman of the National Cattlemen's Foundation. Lacey also has been a committee and/or board member for numerous other organizations ranging from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange to the National Livestock and Meat Board.
While Lacey's leadership, insight and credibility among grass-roots producers have shown throughout his career, one of his biggest accomplishments was his involvement in the successful merger of the NCA and National Livestock and Meat Board/Beef Industry Council into the NCBA in 1996.
The Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame honors one deserving individual each year with the Arturo Armendariz Distinguished Service Award. Armendariz, who passed away in 2008, spent nearly three decades at Poky Feeders in Scott City, Kan.
The first recipient of this award was honored at the June 30 banquet--Chico Becerra, a 32-year cattle feeding veteran with Hale Center Feedyard, a part of Cactus Feeders, Inc., in Hale Center, Texas. Despite overwhelming odds, including living with a prosthetic leg for the past 40 years, Becerra has never lost his integrity, sincerity and unparalleled work ethic. A family man and a good friend to many, those fortunate enough to work with Becerra are quick to praise him for his commitment to excellence and his natural ability to lead and educate others on best practices and safety.
Additional information about the Cattle Feeders Hall of Fame and the 2011 honorees can be found at www.cattlefeeders.org.